Understanding Family-Based Immigration in the U.S.
Is your spouse living in another country, without the ability to lawfully enter or remain in the U.S.? Do you want to bring your parents, siblings, or children to the U.S., but not sure how to do it? Or maybe you plan on getting married to a foreign national, and want them to be with you in the meantime. Regardless of your situation, if it has to do with family-based immigration, then this article is for you.
Read on for the answers to commonly asked questions regarding family-based immigration in the U.S.
- I am a U.S. citizen; how can I help my spouse come to the U.S.?
If you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse is living in another country, you can initiate the green card process by completing the I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, and submitting it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
- I am a permanent resident; how can I help my spouse come to the U.S.?
Prior to applying for an immigrant visa for your spouse, you and your spouse will need to wait until a visa is available. Once a visa becomes available, your spouse will receive a packet from the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department. Once those forms have been completed, your spouse can apply for an immigrant visa with the U.S. Consulate.
- Once I’ve filed the I-130, can my spouse come to the U.S.?
If you are a U.S. citizen and are waiting for the I-130 petition to be approved, your spouse can apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. This visa will allow your spouse to move to and work in the U.S. while the petition is being processed.
- If I am a U.S. citizen, how old do I have to be in order to sponsor my parents for permanent residency?
You must be at least 21 years old.
- If I am a U.S. citizen, how old do I have to be in order to sponsor my siblings for permanent residency?
You must be at least 21 years old.
- I am a U.S. citizen, but my family members live in another country; who can I sponsor for permanent residency?
As a U.S. citizen, you can petition for a green card for your spouse, children, siblings, and parents.
- I am a permanent resident, but my family members live in another country; who can I sponsor for permanent residency?
As a permanent resident, you can petition for a green card for your spouse and children.
- What is a K-1 visa?
A K-1 visa allows immigrants to move to the U.S. under the pretense that they will marry their U.S. citizen partner within 90 days of arriving to the U.S. If a legal marriage does not occur within 90 days, the immigrant will have to leave the U.S.
- What makes a green card “conditional”?
If an immigrant married a U.S. citizen fewer than two years prior to coming to the U.S. as a permanent resident, then they will be issued a conditional green card. Within 90 days of the two-year mark from the time the immigrant entered the U.S. as a permanent resident, both spouses will need to sign a petition for the removal of conditional status.
- What does VAWA stand for?
The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994. Under this act, a foreign national may be able to obtain a green card if they can show that they have been abused by one of the following individuals:
- A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse
- A U.S. citizen parent
- A U.S. citizen son or daughter
- A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse
- An LPR parent
Victims of abuse by one of the above-listed individuals may file their own petition for a green card, and may do so without having to notify the abusive relative.
- What type of information will I need in order to sponsor a relative for permanent residency in the U.S.?
To sponsor a relative for permanent residency in the U.S., you will need the following:
- Documentation of your U.S. citizenship (e.g., birth certificate) or permanent residency (e.g., green card)
- Proof of the relationship between you and the relative you are sponsoring
- Proof of employment/income sufficient to provide for the relative you are sponsoring
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, additional documentation may be requested.
- Do I have to be wealthy in order to sponsor a relative for U.S. permanent residency?
To qualify as a sponsor, you will need to show proof of income which demonstrates your ability to provide for your relative at not less than 125 percent of the national poverty level. This commitment to provide financially for your relative will remain in effect until your relative obtains U.S. citizenship, or until they have proof of employment in the U.S. for at least 10 years.
- My daughter is a U.S. citizen; can she help me get a green card?
If your son or daughter is a U.S. citizen and is over 21 years in age, then they can file an immigrant petition for you to receive a green card.
- If I am a permanent resident, can I sponsor my children and stepchildren?
As a permanent resident, you can be the sponsor for your biological children and stepchildren. However, you must have been married to the parent of your stepchildren prior to the time that your stepchildren turned 18 years old.
Immigration Attorney in Edinburg, Texas
This is by no means an exhaustive list of frequently asked questions regarding family-based immigration and residency in the U.S. If you or a loved one has unanswered questions, the family-based and immigration professionals at R. Ramirez Attorneys and Counselors are here to help.
With considerable experience in immigration law and a true passion for helping people achieve their immigration goals and protecting people’s rights, Attorney Ricardo Ramirez stands out from other immigration attorneys in the area.
Ready for expert legal guidance in achieving your goals?
Contact R. Ramirez Attorneys and Counselors today at (956) 766 4000.